News / Africa

US Sends Former Envoy to Sudan to Push North-South Negotiations

Michael Onyiego

With concerns rising over Sudan's readiness for a January referendum on secession, the United States has dispatched retired Ambassador Princeton Lyman to mediate negotiations between the north and south before the critical vote.

At a press briefing in Washington Wednesday, State Department acting deputy spokesperson Mark Toner announced that Ambassador Lyman would lead a team to Khartoum to assist in negotiations regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, on which the referendum is based.

"We are pleased to announce that retired United States Ambassador Princeton Lyman will serve as a part of an expanded United States negotiating team being dispatched to Sudan," he said. "Ambassador Lyman and his team will augment and complement the efforts of the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum and the U.S. Consulate General in Juba as our diplomatic mission to Sudan assists in the final elements of implementing Sudan's North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement."

Ambassador Lyman, who has previously served in South Africa and Nigeria, will join U.S. Special Envoy Scott Gration as part of a concerted U.S. effort to resolve potential obstacles to the referendum on January 9 of next year. Lyman is scheduled to meet over the next week with representatives from the ruling National Congress Party as well as the Southern People's Liberation Movement, the dominant party in the South.

The enhanced U.S. negotiating team will assist the stagnating talks regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The agreement, signed in January 2005, ended more than 20 years of war between the government in Khartoum and the Southern People's Liberation Movement. Provisions of the document required both parties to push for national unity by addressing contentious issues such as north-south border demarcation, resource allocation and oil-revenue sharing.

But southern leaders feel Khartoum has not held up its end of the agreement. Many analysts now expect the final step of the peace agreement, a referendum on southern independence, to split the country in two.

The expected southern secession has only raised the stakes of the negotiations. Much of Sudan's oilfields lie in the south, but a large portion of the country's reserves lie in the region of Abyei, which straddles the north-south border. The region, though traditionally part of the northern Sudan, has also been claimed by the South, and has been a sticking point in recent talks.

The other critical issue is the referendum itself. Disagreements over the makeup and leadership of the commission tasked with administering the vote have brought referendum preparations to a halt in recent months. While some issues have been resolved, the commission is now faced with registering millions of voters, many of whom are living in refugee camps across the region, just a few months before the vote. Observers such as the International Crisis Group warn that if these issues are not clarified before the referendum, it could spark a return to civil war.  



You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs